Downtown Olympia was invaded by hundreds of adorable space creatures Saturday morning for the 87th annual Pet Parade.
South Sound families, and some from as far away as New York, spent weeks preparing for the beloved parade, which this year had a “Pets in Space” theme. More than 800 participants showed off their dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, chickens — and one pig.
“I love it,” said Maria Nardella, a spectator who said she has attended the event for more than 20 years. “I love seeing the creativity and the pets.” She also said it was wonderful to see so many people out watching the parade.
The procession began at Heritage Park, traveled east on Fifth Avenue, headed south on Franklin, and ended with an ice cream celebration at Sylvester Park.
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Ava Bryant said she was excited to eat the ice cream at the end of the parade. She borrowed her grandpa’s chickens for the event and helped her mother make the spaceship wagon they rode in. Although the handle of the wagon was taller than the 3-year-old, she said she was committed to pulling it herself.
Ella Saliker, 11, made costumes for the “Alien Pets in Space” crew, made up of her friends and family, as a project for her sewing class. She and her friends used plastic containers and tape to build their trilevel rolling space shuttle. Their dogs walked, and a gerbil and two guinea pigs rode in the parade. Multiple families used the iconic film “Star Wars” as inspiration for their costumes.
The Marty family said they spent a month building their impressive Star Wars-themed X-wing fighter plane. Eight-year-old Mallie, who was dressed as Princess Leia, captained the ship and said she was excited to throw candy to spectators. The more than 6-foot-long spacecraft featured an R2-D2 replica on the back.
Mallie’s father, Robert Marty, said he hadn’t intended to make such an elaborate float, but one thing had led to another. It paid off: The float won the grand prize for an entry by a child.
One family decided to dress up their horses, Midnight and Charlie, as the sun and solar system. Eight-year-old twin sisters Kaidence and Chloey Yancey said it took them a few hours to decorate and put glitter on their horses.
They said they won the grand prize last year and were trying for it again this year. They ended up with a judge’s choice prize in the pets category.
Four-year-old Molly Tedford, whose mother said she has been to the parade since before she was born, said she was nervous about being in the parade this year.
She and her sister, 6-year-old Claire, walked in the parade with their neighbor’s dog, Georgy Girl. Pam Finn, Georgy Girl’s owner, said she and the girls had practiced walking around their neighborhood to prepare for Saturday.
A few of the animal parade participants acted like they wanted to be rolling in the grass, rather than sitting in decorated wagons.
“They get treats when they wear clothes,” said Jeanne Rynne, an Olympia resident dressed as Princess Leia who said her 8-month-old dog was Chewbacca, both after characters from “Star Wars.” “I’m excited to be here. It’s wonderful, and I’m having a fun time seeing all of the other costumes.”
Grand Prize: Entry by Girl
Maddie Biehler of Lacey with “Cosmic Cottontail Cuddle Shuttle Rabbits”
Grand Prize: Entry by Boy
Russell Soderquist of Olympia with “Men in Black with Pug”
Grand Prize: Entry by Group
Ella Sarkiker of Olympia with “The Martians”
Grand Prize: Entry by Child
Maille Marty of Olympia with “X-Wing Fighter Star Wars”
Grand Prize: Entry by Family
The Inglin Family of Tumwater with “NASA Olympia Astronauts”
Judge’s Choice: Big Dogs
Amanda Kobeoski of Beaverton, Oregon
Wendy Stevens (with Sparta, Frodo and Dorrito) of Tumwater
Kate Winans and Henry Bodenner (with Olive) of Olympia
Sarah Pettit (with Aspen) of Olympia
Megan Berry (with Angus) of Portland, Oregon
Zariah Napoli of Olympia
Judge’s Choice: Small Dogs
Bryanna Elliott of Olympia
Lucy Castillo of Shelton with Cecil the Ewok
Leila Chavez of Olympia
Nicole Manriquez of Olympia
Judge’s Choice: Small Pets
Lucy and Ellie Armijo of Olympia
Andrea and Piper Wentland of Olympia
Judge’s Choice: Wheels
Katie Flint of Shelton
Wayne, Brady and Carly Faye of Olympia
Josie Tenkhoff of Portland, Oregon
Rosalyn and Morrison Tobeck of Maytown
Miranda Tidde of Tumwater
Andrew Ross of Olympia
Judge’s Choice: Floats
Cecellia and Hazel Stephens of Olympia
Gavin Eilliamson and Anna, Ella and Owen Foy of Olympia
Miranda Tidde of Tumwater
Anna and Sam Roberts of Tumwater
Kya and Kade Daggi of Las Vegas, Nevada
Henry and James Miller and Luke Mattran of Aberdeen
Judge’s Choice: Pets
Busy Bee’s Preschool and Childcare of Olympia
Makayla Leon of Olympia
Kaidence and Cloey Yancey of Olympia
Ava Bryant of Olympia
Lily Miles of Brooklyn, New York
Elise Kinchler of Tumwater